TEXTS ON MUSIC IN ENGLISH
School of Music
University of Nebraska--Lincoln
Lincoln, NE 68588-0100
(phone:  472-2507; Internet: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Data entry: Jonathan Haupt
Checked by: Peter Slemon
Approved by: Peter M. Lefferts
Fn and Ft: HEREFOL3_TEXT
Title: A little treatise on discant
Source: Manfred Bukofzer, Geschichte des englischen Diskants und des Fauxbourdons nach den theoretischen Quellen, Sammlung musikwissenschaftlicher Abhandlungen, Band 21 (Strassbourg: Heitz, 1936), 146-53.
Graphics: HEREFOL3 01GF
[1.] Here folwith a litil tretise acording to the ferst tretise of the sight of descant and also for the sight of Counter and for the sight of Countirtenor [-147-] and of Faburdon. Ferst for the sight of Descant it is to wete, as it is afor seide that ther be 9 acordis of Descant, scilicet a Unisoun, a 3, a 5, a 6, a 8, a 10, a 12, a 13, a 15. of the whech 9 acordis there be 5 perfite and 4 inperfite.
[2.] the 5 perfite be these: the unisoun, the 5, the 8, the 12 and the 15. of these 5 perfites there be 3 full perfit and 2 less perfit. the 3 full perfit be the unisoun, the 8 and the 15. the 2 lasse perfite be the 5 and the 12.
[3.] the 4 imperfite be these: the 3, the 6, the 10 and the 13. and with these acordis of descant every descanter may ryse in voyse and falle with the plainsong excepte out of one perfite into another bother of one kynde, as it is afor rehersid.
[4.] Also it is to wete that there be 3 degris of Descant, scilicet the Quatreble sight, and the Treble sight and the Mene sight.
[5.] The Mene beginnyth in a 5 above the plainsong in vois and with the plainsong in sighte. the Trebil beginnyth in a 8 above in voise and with the plainsong in sight. the Quatreble begins in a 12 above in voise and with the plainsong in sight.
[6.] To the Mene longith properli 5 acordis, scilicet: the unisoun, 3, 5, 6 and 8. To the Treble longith properli 5 acordis, scilicet 5, 6, 8, 10 and 12. To the Quatreble longith properli 5 acordis, scilicet: 8, 10, 12, 13 and 15.
[7.] Ferthermore it is to wete that of all the cordis of Descant sume be above the plainsong and sume benethe and sume with the plainsong. And so the Descanter of the Mene shal begynne his descant with the plainsong in sight and a 5 above in voise and so he shal ende it in a 5, having next afor a 3, if the plainsong descende and ende dounward as fa mi, mi re, re ut. the 2 above in sight ist a 6 above in voise, the 3 benethe in [-148-] sight is a 3 above in voise. the 4 above in sight is a 8 above in voise. the 6 above in sight is a 10 above in voise, the wheche 10 the descanter of the Mene may sing if the plainsong go low. nevertheless there long no mo[re] acordis to the Mene but 5, as it is afor saide.
[Anon., HerfolBu, 148,1; text: Dum medium silenci[um]] [Notenbeispiel No. 10] [HEREFOL3 01GF]
[8.] The Treble descanter shal beginne his descant with the plainsong in sighte and a 8 above in voise and so he shal ende it in a 8, having next afore a 6, [if] the plainsong descende and ende downward, as I have afor saide. the 3 benethe the plainsong in sight is a 6 above in vois. the 4 benethe in sight is a 5 above in vois. the 6 benethe in sight is a 3 above in voise. the 8 benethe in sight is a unisoun in voise. the 3 above the plainsong in sight is a 10 above in voise. the 5 above in sight is a 12 above in voise. the 6 above in sight is a 13 above in voise. the 8 above in sight is a 15 above in voise. And in this degre of descant he that hathe a voise able therto may sing al thes acordis of descant.
[Anon., HerfolBu, 148,2] [Notenbeispiel No. 11] [HEREFOL3 01GF]
[9.] The Quatreble descanter shal beginne his descante with the plainsong in sight and a 12 above in voise and so he shal ende it in a 12, having next afore a 10, if the plainsong descende and ende downward as aforsaide. the 3 benethe the plainsong in sight is a 10 above in voise. the 5 benethe in sight is a 8 above in voice. the 2 above the plainsong in sight is the 13 in voice. the 4 above in sight is a 15 in voice.
[10.] This degre of descant longith to a childe to sing. for the sight of the Mene and of the Quatreble be ther [-149-] bother one sight in degre. Therfor the Mene muste be sunge of a man and the Quatreble of a childe.
[11.] Also it is to know whan thou settist a perfite note agenst a fa, thou must make that perfite note a fa, as mi fa sol la.
[12.] Also it is faire and meri singing many inperfite cordis togeder as for to sing 3 or 4 or 5 thirds togeder, a 5 or a unisoun nexte aftir. Also as many sextis nexte aftir a 8, also as many tenthis nexte aftir a 12, also as many thirteenthis nexte aftir a 15. This manner of singing in mery to the singer and to the herer. Here folwith a exsample of the Quatreble sight: ÒCum angelis et pueris.Ó
The sight of the Countertenor of Descant and his acordis.
Thus sufficienth sped of the sightis of al the degris of descant it is convenient to declare the 9 acordis of the Countertenor sight longing to descant. Of the whech Countertenor thes be the 4 sightis benethe [the] plainsong: a 8, a 6, a 5, a 3. and unisoun evyn with the plainsong. and above the plainsong other 4: a 3, a 5, a 6, a 8.
Thes acordes be as wel in sight as in voice. for a 8 benethe in sight is a 8 benethe in voyce and so forther bother above and benethe of al the other sightis longing to the Countertenor.
Also a man that hath a low voyce may sing a Countertenor instede of a Mene. for whan the Tenor is hye, the Countertenor may be low and whan the Tenor is low, than [-150-] the Countertenor may be the Mene. And alwey sette the vo[i]ce in the same note and in the same tune that the plainsong is in. And alwey beginne and ende thi Countertenor in a 5. And thi Countergemel begynne and ende in unisoun.
The sight of Countir with his acordis.
Al thes processis fortunatli passid now attentli is for to procede ferther to the sightis and the acordis of Countir. the whech sight was continuid out of the sight of the Mene degre of descant and turned up so down. and as ther longith properli to the Mene sight but 5 acordis, so ther longith no mo[re] but 5 acordis properli to the sight of Countir the whech be these: unisoun, 3, 5, 6 and 8.
How thou shalt dispose thes acordis? thou must conceyne if the plainsong beginne hye, than thou shalt beginne thi Countir in a 8, the wheche is in sight a 4 benethe the plainsong. and if the plainsong beginne low, than thou shalt beginne thi Countir in a Unisoun with the plainsong, the whech is a 5 above the plainsong in sight. the 3 above the plainsong in sight is a 3 benethe in voice and the plainsong himselfe ever [is] a 5 benethe in voice. the 2 nexte benethe the plainsong in sight is a 6 benethe in voice. the 4 benethe the plainsong in sight is a 8 benethe in voice.
Also if ye have a low voice whan the plainsong gothe hye, than ye may have 4 acordis mo[re], the whech be these: a 10, a 12, a 13 and a 15, of the wheche 4 acordis the 10 and 12 be in use by sight natural. for every 6 in sight benethe the plainsong is a 10 benethe in voice and every 8 benethe the plainsong in sight is a 12 benethe in voice. but as for [-151-] 13 and 15 ther is no sight benethe the plainsong within 4 rules and 4 spaces that will serve it, but if ye chonge your sight.
And as for a chonge of your sight is this, whan the plainsong riste hye into C sol fa ut, than is your 12 benethe in voice in C fa ut. than the same low not[e] that ye have in C fa ut holde it and chong your sight into C sol fa ut and not your voice. and than imagine C sol fa ut your 12, the 2 benethe in sight your 13, the 4 benethe your 15.
Now is this sight alterid: for whereas ferst evyn with the plainsong whas your 5 in voise, now is your 12; and whereas the 2 benethe the plainsong in voice your 6, now is your 13; and whereas was the 4 benethe the plainsong your 8, now is your 15. This same rule may ye kepe betwene D sol re and D la sol re and al other base keyys, whan the counter sight goth low.
Now it is convenient to know how that the Countir shal be shape to serve the plainsong bother ascending and descending. Ye shal, as it is aforesaid, if the plainsong begynne hye, begynne your Countir in a 8 and if the plainsong beginne resonable low, beginne in a Unisoun with the plainsong. and as ye beginne in a 8 or a Unisoun so ende your Countir in a 8 or a Unisoun. Also whan the plainsong ascendit the Countir may shape his sight above the plainsong to descende downward to close with the plainsong in a 8 with a 6 nexte afor or a 5. and if the plainsong descende it is convenient the Countir to ascende and close with the plainsong in a Unisoun with a 3 next afore. Also the Counterer may bothe ascende and descende with one or 2 or 3 imperfite acordis befor a perfite corde as wel as the Descanter.
Also the Counterer may close downward in a 12 with a 10 befor him and also in a 15 with a 13 next befor him [-152-] by chonging his sight atte the 12. and this chonging of sight in counter is the Quatreble sight in the Descant.
Now here folwithe 2 exsamples of the Countir sight, ferst of the plain wey of Countir and than the 2. of chonging of sight:
The sight of Faburdon with his acordis.
For the leeste processe of sightis natural and most in use is expedient to declare the sight of Faburdon. The wheche hathe but 2 sightis: a 3 above the plainsong in sight the wheche is a 6 fro the Treble in voice and a evyn with the plainsong in sight the wheche is a 8 fro the Treble in voise.
These 2 acordis the Faburdener must rewel be the Mene of the plainsong. For whan he shal beginne his Faburdun he must attende to the plainsong and sette his sight evyn with the plainsong and his voice in a 5 benethe the plainsong and aftir, whether the plainsong ascende or descende, to sette his sight alwey both in rwle and space above the plainsong in a 3. and aftir that the plainsong hauntith his course either in acutis fro G sol re ut above to G sol re ut benethe, to close dunward in sight evyn upon the plainsong upon one of these keyes: D la sol re, C sol fa ut, A la mi re or G sol re ut benethe.
And if the plainsong haunt his course fro G sol re ut benethe down toward A re convenientli than to se[e] before where he may close with 2 or 3 or 4 thirds before either in F fa ut benethe or D sol re or C fa ut or A re. And al these closis gladli to be sunge and closid at the laste ende [-153-] of a word. And as ofte as he wil to touche the plainsong and voide there fro, excepte twies togedir, for that may not be, in as moche as the plainsong sight is a 8 to the treble and a 5 to the mene and so to every degre he is a perfite corde. and 2 perfite acordis of one nature may not be sung togedir in no degre of Descant.